Man pleads guilty to running “appalling” puppy farm

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A MAN has pled guilty to keeping dogs in “appalling conditions” on a puppy farm near Falkirk.

Charles Swan admitted keeping an unlicensed pet shop, failing to ensure the welfare of 57 animals there and causing unnecessary suffering to a number of dogs.

The Falkirk Sheriff court heard that between 31 May and 5 August 2011 Swan, from Stirling, kept a number of puppies and dogs at a farm near Plean in Falkirk.

Many of the pups had distended bellies, consistent with parasitic worm infestations

Shona McJannett, Specialist Wildlife Prosecutor said: “The condition of the dogs and the manner in which they lived was deplorable yet Charles Swan saw these animals as nothing more than commodities.

“The manner in which Swan conducted his enterprise was not only cruel but undercuts those who are involved in the legitimate pet trade and adhere to best practice in ensuring the welfare of their animals.

“The majority of the animals that were rescued in this case have thankfully been rehomed by the SSPCA.

“This prosecution should serve as a very clear warning to those who seek to profit in the unregulated trade of domestic pets.”

SSPCA inspectors had received numerous complaints from concerned members of the public regarding the welfare of dogs and puppies at the locus and in shock at the manner in which they were being kept.

The makeshift kennel was described as “appalling”

A number of those complaints were received from people who had purchased puppies from the accused at the locus.

Complaints varied from the feet of the dogs being encrusted with mites and eggs and general infestation with worms and parasites, to the dogs being so weak and dehydrated that they were unable to feed.

Many of those who complained had answered adverts on internet sites advertising the sale of the dogs and purchased breeds such as labradoodle, rottweiller and chocolate labs from the accused for £300 to £400.

All those who complained had to seek further expensive veterinary care for their animals, and in one case a pup had to be put down.

On August 5, 2011, Inspectors of the SSPCA and police officers of Central Scotland police executed a search warrant in respect of the premises. The accused met inspectors and afforded them entry into the compound.

It is a relatively small plot on a farm site in a rural location, rented from a local farmer; it has a large agricultural shed. The kennel area is makeshift, and is predominantly made up by shipping containers and portacabins.  There was a very strong unpleasant smell in the area of old stale dog faeces.

Within the compound, there were 18 kennels that housed some 57 dogs, of different breeds and age including seven Rottweiler dogs, two Border terrier dogs, a Staffordshire bull terrier, a Border collie and a Labrador.

There were many puppies; all approximately six to ten weeks old, including four Black Scotty dog pups, 17 Labrador puppies, a Jack Russell puppy, five Cavalier King Charles puppies, four Bichon Frise puppies and Rottweiler pup.

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